Training Regimen?

1:58 p.m. on August 6, 2009 (EDT)
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I often find myself out on day hikes of various lengths to get out into the woods and to also try and keep myself from getting out of shape for longer multi-day hikes. I was just wondering if anybody has a training regimen that they stuck to, and if so what it is?

7:07 p.m. on August 6, 2009 (EDT)
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Hey CoyotePacker,

Most people don't like to do this but carrying a loaded pack on dayhikes is hard to beat for getting into shape for multi day backpacking. It just naturally works all the right muscles I think.

At home I use an Orbital workout machine along with a weight machine to stay in shape. I don't run much anymore because of problems with my knees so the low impact Orbital is my choice.

I use my Orbital every morning and try to at night, I use the workout machine every other day. Also diet is crucial as you probably already know.

But I have to say that actually getting out there is my favorite way to stay in shape!

9:39 p.m. on August 6, 2009 (EDT)
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Like trouthunter on my day hikes I carry a pack loaded down to 20-25 some times a bit more if I feel that it could turn into a overnight hike in a bad way. Then when I'm home ill walk about 7 1/2 mile every other day or so.

2:51 p.m. on August 7, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks for the reply's. I kind of instintively figured as much, but was curious to see what others do.

7:52 p.m. on August 7, 2009 (EDT)
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I run on roads and trails 4-5 days a week. In the winter that includes some treadmill running, and I'll add in some snowshoe running and cross-country skiing.

I'm trying to make an effort to do better stretching and strengthening, though this is my big weakness.

For day hikes, while I've moved toward having a lighterweight style overall, trimming the excess and buying lighter gear, I'm usually happy to carry extra water and gear for our family or carry the toddler. I figure carrying the extra water/food/clothes needed for two kids and/or one of the actual kids is good training. And you get lots of positive comments carrying a little kid up a peak, with another one along.

Here's a picture from Utah:

1:22 p.m. on August 9, 2009 (EDT)
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Alicia that's so adorable! I can't wait until my 4 year old girl is ready for an overnighter! Sorry to go off topic...

 

I train in a similar style to Trouthunter, loading my pack up with just about anything I can find around the house in addition to regular gear. It's also a good way to experiment with your pack load.

11:20 a.m. on August 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Alicia - That is a very nice photo. I've been told that pilates works well for stretching and core/strength training, but don't know how applicable pilates would be for hiking.

2:24 p.m. on August 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks, mahoosic and coyotepacker!

Mahoosic, you should definitely get your daughter out there. I bet she'd have a great time.

Coyotepacker, I always want to do Pilates and yoga for those very reasons. I know they'd be good for me and I've even gotten some books and info on them in the past. I just never find myself with the time or energy to add them to my schedule. It's my own neglect.

But, Saturday our new slackline arrived from Gibbon! It's now set up in the backyard and is very addictive. Our family has been slacklining every day since, multiple times a day. Slacklining is supposed to work your balance (obviously), your core/abs, and focus. So, I'm counting it as my new cross-training tool. It's really fun too. I'd post a picture, but I'm not very good yet, though improving daily.

3:04 p.m. on August 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Swimming. All around workout and helps build up lung capacity as well. I couple this with my regular weight training. Squats and dumbbell lunges especially.

I found this to be helpful as well. Click on your age and your off to the races.

http://www.backpacker.com/may_09_hike_forever_ultimate_hiking_workouts/skills/13107

4:25 p.m. on August 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Having had knee problems for as long as I can remeber the way I stay in top shape is through a combination of cardio/strength training and hiking of course.

Everyone is different physically and what I found best for me was to gather ideas what others did and modify it to a routine that works.

Leg raises w/weights, and squats mainly to keep your quads strong I find seem to help the most. As for cardio, I find nothing prepares you better than actually getting out there with a pack on as many have suggested above.

Also don't forget warm ups! Your less likely to get injuried if you keep your body in top shape.

11:33 a.m. on August 12, 2009 (EDT)
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I forgot to mention at the Barr Trail head to Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs (just west of Colorado Springs-Garden of the Gods) also lies "The Incline" (image seen about 2/3 of the way up). This will either give you a good workout or kick your a$$ depending on how much you want to add to your pack. Did I also mention it starts out at elev. 6,600?

This is a weekly exercise for many of the locals. They do this, then run down Barr trail, which zigzags up the mountain adjacent to it.

If you're ever in the area give it a shot. And if that's not enough for you, continue on to Pikes Peak.

11:59 a.m. on August 12, 2009 (EDT)
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I forgot to mention at the Barr Trail head to Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs (just west of Colorado Springs-Garden of the Gods) also lies "The Incline" (image seen about 2/3 of the way up). This will either give you a good workout or kick your a$$ depending on how much you want to add to your pack. Did I also mention it starts out at elev. 6,600?

This is a weekly exercise for many of the locals. They do this, then run down Barr trail, which zigzags up the mountain adjacent to it.

If you're ever in the area give it a shot. And if that's not enough for you, continue on to Pikes Peak.

Cool.

1:13 p.m. on August 12, 2009 (EDT)
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I had this big essay-length post about how I train and the importance of warmups and stretching but my internet was down so I couldn't post it. I saved it just using copy and paste but little did I know this was a dominantly used feature in my household so it got completely erased.

I hate writing essays so if I get a hold of a double shot expresso or a redbull then I'll consider retyping :)

4:52 p.m. on August 12, 2009 (EDT)
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Will - That looks like a lot of fun.

Kmarr - Sorry about the loss of your post ... I hate when that happens.

6:52 p.m. on August 12, 2009 (EDT)
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Alicia,...great photo, getting kids out into the wilderness at a young age enriches their life and yours too doesn't it.

 

Will, ...that looks like something i would definitely do! (and then rethink near the top) I like a challenge.

11:38 a.m. on August 14, 2009 (EDT)
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I am a proponent of the hike-with-a-heavy-load method. I also slackline when I can (2-3 times a month), climb when I can (2-3 times a month), run when I can (2-3 times a month), lift when I can (2-3 times a month), and chop wood (2-3 times a month). I stay busy, and feel like I'm improving my fitness; I eat a lot of food (5000+ calories a day), much more in fact than I normally would, so I know I'm burning energy. But I'm also rarely hungry (I eat 5-6 "meals" a day, and snack throughout), so I know my body is not wanting for energy. I often find myself going till muscle failure, and recovery takes a day or two. It works for my 19hr semesters.

11:31 a.m. on August 16, 2009 (EDT)
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I have always relied on x-c skiing in winter and biking in summer to keep in shape, and avoided running under the assumption that it would sooner or later destroy my feet, knees, and/or back (I had a partial disk removal over 10 years ago). One result: my first hikes of the year always result in more or less muscle soreness in my legs, mostly from going downhill, because cycling and skiing don't really work those muscles in the same way. So when my daughter challenged me to do the 60 km Trollheimen Triangle in one day, I figured I better do something to get in shape or I would, assuming I could do it at all, be crawling for few days afterward. So I took up running, on the same trails I ski and bike on in the forest out my back door. It worked, we did the triangle in just over 12 hours. And the sick thing is, I actually like running, especially uphill. I find I can modulate my pace to keep my heart rate where I want it, whereas with cycling there are periods of rest on the downhills and steep uphills can be a bit of a blowout. And so far I'm not having any problems, so I'll keep doing it as long as nothing hurts. It seems to be a good way to work the same muscles I use in hiking, as well us keeping the cardoivascular system in tune, in the amount of time that I have to train.

8:22 p.m. on August 16, 2009 (EDT)
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Interval cardio, not much works better. My favorite is to use the elliptical for fifteen minutes, seriously thats about as much as you need, go for thirty seconds at a relaxed speed and then thirty seconds at an all out sprint. Alternate this for fifteen minutes and you will definitely see and feel progress much faster than regular cardio.

7:39 p.m. on November 5, 2009 (EST)
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Update: I've started alternating lifting weights with hiking from 5 to 10 miles (with weights around my ankles) ... doing weights one day and hiking the next. This seems to be really whipping me into shape for the back-country. Thanks again for all of the recommendations.

8:57 p.m. on November 5, 2009 (EST)
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The best training for any activity is the activity itself. So I just get out there and hike the local trails with a pack of anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds (usually 8-15 miles, 1000-3000 ft of elevation gain and loss), bicycle (usually 20-40 miles, similar elevation gains), and climb (depends on where I go - Castle Rock SP, it's bouldering, other places it's multipitch rock or ice). I normally would do 3 or 4 of the hikes a week and 2 of the bike rides, with the bouldering every couple of weeks. The weekends might include an orienteering meet (I usually run the Green course).

However, the past year has been occupied with building the new house, so the hikes have been shorter. The bike rides don't have to be shortened, since a 20 mile ride with the hills takes about an hour and a half. The bike rides start from the house, while the hikes require getting to the trail head, which if I make the mistake of picking the wrong time of day can take half hour to an hour each way.

Winter adds skiing and ice climbing, but that means heading for the Sierra and can take 4 or 5 hours each way (I try to go midweek at off-hours), so I stay for several days.

It's all training for the bigger trips.

2:42 a.m. on November 7, 2009 (EST)
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I agree, I like to train-hike near Vancouver, B.C. in the steep Coast Range and push myself a bit further every trip. I carry a 25 lb. emerg., pack as both a potential lifesaver and as a training aid and I add weight with water bottles, bricks or sandbags to strengthen my aged bod. This seems to work and like most, I just need to keep at it and not slack off to bury my head in a history book, another addiction of mine.

For upper-body workouts, I simply walk my young Rottweilers.......

10:32 a.m. on November 7, 2009 (EST)
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There's not much more boring than training for training's sake, and I'd rather be actually out pumping nylon instead of "pretending" with somesort of regimen. For many years I found the solution to exercise: Set up your home(in my case a tipi)at least a mile away from where you park and preferably up about an 800 foot elevation gain, cut a trail with switchbacks if necessary, and hump in everything on your back.

This is the best form of training as it never stops and you can't sleep at night until you pump nylon home. And in the process you end up backpacking near daily and carrying all sorts of neat things: canvas, food, rugs and blankets, tools, wheel barrows, kerosene, chainsaw, rugs and blankets, thermarests, 140lb iron woodstove, HECK, pretty much everything you need to live.

7:31 p.m. on November 7, 2009 (EST)
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Sad but true i still have to work for a living,harder and harder in these uncertain times,so i try to make work part of my conditioning process.I wear ankle and wrist weights,different weights,because iam on my feet all day.Spring summer and fall i hie in the Columbia river gorge after work several times a week,minutes away with many 2mile,1600ft gain trails,up and down quickly.These also have great views.Ride my bicycle to and from work,26 mile round trip.Day hikes,with 15 to 20lb weight in pack.Weekend overnighter backpacks and climbs mostly in Oregon and Washington cascades.When winter roles in,as now,the after work hikes are hard to do,very dark by 5pm and these trails are steep and dangerous in the dark.So i try to do more weight training and as much skiing as i can,both down hill and xc.In portland we have Washington Park in the nw part of the city wich has many trails and a up to 22 mile mountain bike ride for workouts as well.I love exercise as long as it is not in a gym but outside anything goes.I can not really run anymore,both knees have had surgery,and i wish to save them for other out door journeys.

8:39 p.m. on November 8, 2009 (EST)
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Since I am currently in school, I walk everywhere. Books add weight, and mental excercise, yoga helps physical and spiritual, slacklineing (though I don't do it as often as I should) helps me focus. These are all things I enjoy doing. Come January I'll be having to pump up the tires to tackle an extra 2.5 miles (one-way) to and from school.. But all of this is not a training regimen, it's simply how I choose to live.. something Tipi touched on earlier.

10:30 a.m. on November 10, 2009 (EST)
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We just got our hands on big truck tires with the rims on. We clip them to our backpacks and drag them when we go shopping, it's really tire-ing.:p

Good exercise for legs, arms and mostly lower back, we're training to pull sleds in the Rockies. You do look a bit foolish though.

8:28 p.m. on November 10, 2009 (EST)
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We just got our hands on big truck tires with the rims on. We clip them to our backpacks and drag them when we go shopping, it's really tire-ing.:p

Good exercise for legs, arms and mostly lower back, we're training to pull sleds in the Rockies. You do look a bit foolish though.

Unorthodox but effective, eh?

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